Thursday, October 20, 2011


I have a confession. 

Evie is my daughter.

And it's not just that she's my daughter, it's like she's a mini me.

Now here's the connect to the title:  Evie is like a teenage me.  She is totally cool hanging out and doing her own thing by herself.  She is her own independent person.  She is a miniature, introverted, empowered me.

I discovered this today, when I realized that since I became a full time mom, my daughter is not constantly requiring my attention.  Ergo, we do our own thing for most of the day.

I have become a lackadaisical mother.  How depressing is that!?  My degree is in Behavioral Science (Family Studies), translation: I should be the bomb at raising children.  Not that I expected to suddenly be awesome and proactive; I just expected to be more motivated to make play dates, spend an hour reading to her every day, and teaching her letters and how to be super smart.

Reality: We spend most of the day with the tv on while we multi-task pursuing our individual interests.  Occasionally we meet in the middle and play some.  Then there's naptime.  That's the one thing I'm proud of.  We read a couple stories and sing songs as part of the naptime routine.  But other than that we kind of just co-exist.  We're roommates.  What the heck kind of mother am I?


Wednesday, October 5, 2011


 For the last couple months or so, we've been working extra hard to hold Family Home Evening.  At first we tried singing primary songs so that Evie would become familiar with them, then we'd have a story/lesson for the older members of the family, then we'd top it off with dessert or an activity. Evie had a hard time with structured family time lasting that long (15 minutes).  So we decided to focus them more on her, showing her pictures of Jesus and Heavenly Father, the goal being to get her to identify them on her own.  That particular FHE ended with Evie screaming bloody murder and being put to bed at 7:30, which benefited no one.

So the last two weeks have simply consisted of an activity (walk, getting ice cream) and singing primary songs.  Those worked out much better.  Anywho, the point of this story is that it's working!  In addition to this introduction to primary songs, I've been singing them to Evie when I put her to bed.  Last night, she tried singing "I Am a Child of God" with me.  So cute!  She's pretty good at singing "Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam," "Popcorn Popping," and "Once There Was a Snowman," but it's nice to know she's learning the more spiritual ones.  Yay :-)  She can also identify who is in the pictures of Jesus in her room.

In other news, we are continuing the battle of solid foods vs juice fast. 

If Evie had her way, she would survive on juice, and never eat anything but hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and popcorn.  While most of her meals still end up being hot dogs or chicken nuggets, I am still fighting the battle to introduce new foods to the inside of her mouth.  The greatest success I've had so far is with-holding juice in order for her to take a bite, and the success hasn't been that great :-I 

 Why can't she just love food the way I do?

Lastly, I figured out a way to get pictures from my phone to the computer.  So here is the string of protruding belly shots I've taken of Baby #2.  She is definitely growing.  Mommy can feel it.

 15 Weeks

 16 Weeks

17 Weeks

 19 Weeks

 20 Weeks

 21 Weeks

25 Weeks

I feel I need to apologize for my hair in this last picture.  I'm working on growing my hair out, and doing that while I'm pregnant seems to be a good idea.  So, in an attempt to make it healthier, I've been trying not to destroy it so much, the way I usually do when I tease it and such.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My name is Brooke...and I'm a Mormon.

This last weekend was our church's semi-annual general conference.  I love conference, for lots of reasons.  I get to stay home and watch it with Brandon.  Sunday usually means we get together and watch those sessions with family.  But even if you take away the cozy, family aspect, you are still left with a phenomenal feast of spirituality.  No matter the questions or attitude I come into conference with, I am always left with an overwhelming feeling of love from my Heavenly Father.

During this conference, I had the impression to share my testimony.  I don't normally stand up during fast and testimony meeting to do this, but I felt that perhaps it would be better shared this way, even though most of you reading this are also members and have your own testimonies.  I appreciate the example you set for me, even through what you post on your own blogs--I look up to each of you :-)

For as long as I can remember, I've had a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, of the Book of Mormon, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's church on the earth today.  At first this was a product of the instruction I received from my parents, extended family members, and teachers within the church.  But since my younger, more naive days, I have come to reinforce that testimony with knowledge gained myself.  I have read the Book of Mormon, prayed about it, and have felt the warmth and reassurance from Heavenly Father that it's teachings are true.  I have heard the arguments and been shown the literature of others who would dissuade me from my faith and my beliefs.  To those of you I say, I may not have the counter-arguments and responses to win a debate, but I have a relationship with my Heavenly Father that I can't deny.  I have felt his love, I have received answers to my prayers, and there are many instances in my life where I have gone against the "logical" and followed his promptings to find greater blessings than I could have planned for myself. 

I love the Church.  I love the gospel and doctrines taught within it, especially the doctrine of eternal families.  I am grateful for my temple marriage; that I am sealed to my husband and my children for time and all eternity.  They mean the world to me, and all the titles and worldly pomp I could gather for myself would be little consolation to me if I lost them after death. 

I testify that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God.  He is the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I sustain him with all my heart.  He truly is a witness of Jesus Christ, not only through his words, but through his actions and demeanor as well.  Everything that I've observed of him speaks of love, kindness, and all other Christ-like attributes.

If any of you reading this are feeling lost, looking for answers, or simply have questions about the Church, I invite you to click on the "What We Believe" button on the side of my blog.  That will direct you to the website and to some answers you may be looking for.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happiness Today, and Tomorrow...and Probably Sunday.

I LOVE Fridays.

And I'll tell you why.

Brandon pretty much always has weekends off, so Friday marks the beginning of two days of uninterrupted "Brandon Time."  :-D  
Fridays also remind me that I have a life outside of being a wife and mother, namely, I get to see friends who are still in school, or who work.  Yay!
Overall, there is just something in the air on Fridays, be it sunny, cloudy, rainy, or what not, that screams "FREEDOM!"  Even though I'm not in school anymore, weekends are still a godsend, and Friday is another reason to give thanks.
And for this particular Friday, I think I'll be a little bit lazy.  Instead of scrubbing down and sterilizing the bathrooms, which is the usual plan for Fridays, I think I'll just clean the toilets and call it good.  Also, I am attempting to use my bread machine far so good.  I've checked on it, and I have rising dough at this point.  In addition to home-made bread and minimal cleaning, I will be giving Evie a bath, which means a not stinky Evie (always a plus) and I get to do her hair some intricate way that will allow me to leave it alone the next few days :-)  So much fun!  As if that wasn't enough...I will maybe pamper myself a little.  Finish the manicure I started last night, or something else fun.  
And I get to see my friend Ashley tonight!  (Bonus!)

Saturdays are also great.  We usually stay in bed till 10, sometimes I make a big-ish breakfast.  Sometimes we go out and walk around the mall, or other stores, which is a high-light for Evie.  And this particular weekend means we get to see Brandon's family.  I enjoy this, because it means good company, and Evie gets to play with her cousin Alex (she only has the one).  
I love spending time with family :-)

Sunday will also be great, because this Sunday is Stake Conference, and Brandon's parents are in our stake.  So, we will get to see them at church, and instead of being 3 hours, church will only be 2 hours.  I feel that life is good right now.  
After church, we will come home, maybe Evie will take a nap, and around 2-3 that afternoon, we will walk to Brandon's parents' house (we live that close) and we will be treated to a phenomenal meal cooked by Brandon's dad, like we are every other week we come to visit :-).  I feel good about this.  

And then sadness will set in around 8, when the realization hits that the weekend is over, and Brandon has to wake up at 5 the next morning to go to work, and our week will start all over again.

But until then, I will be happy that I have the weekend to spend with good friends and wonderful family.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Random Musings

1. My back hurts.  Not that that is an uncommon occurrence during pregnancy, but it's starting to remind me of that stage of labor where the baby is about to come and your back is KILLING you because the baby's head is resting on the bottom of your spinal cord.  It hasn't been that bad, but yesterday it was that consistent sort of pain.  It wasn't my favorite.
2. On a happier note, I've finally got a cleaning schedule for the house.  Each day do a something, and usually, by the end of the week 90% of the house has been cleaned.  I feel good about this, in part because Evie likes to "help."
3. This pregnancy has been SO DIFFERENT from my first one.  Despite the "new" inconveniences, it has been a breath of fresh air, so to speak.  I can actually drink water, which I couldn't with Evie.  I feel like I can work out more, and I don't just have to lie on the couch all day b/c I feel like death.  I don't, or didn't, want sweets; that one was kind of sad.  But it's coming back to me :-)  And I definitely haven't been eating as much.  Woot!
4. My daughter thinks she doesn't need naps anymore.  
I strongly disagree.
Something about the way she gets bipolar around 7:00, is asleep by 8:00, and then wakes up at 4:00 the next morning isn't working for me.  This has happened twice this week.  I really don't want to resort to this, but I may have to lay down with her until she falls asleep.  That way I can monitor the "getting out of bed and playing with toys" situation.  On the one hand, I'm glad that she can stay in her room for 2+ hours and just play by herself, on the other hand, she needs a nap.  On the third hand, I really can enjoy her happy mood from 4:00 am to 6:00 pm.  On the fourth hand, if she's going to go to sleep at 8:00, she should at least be sleeping until 7:00 the next morning, which she isn't. Maybe I just need to wear her out more during the morning so she's tired enough for a nap come afternoon?
5.  I am TERRIFIED about our sleeping arrangement once the baby comes.  Mostly because I don't know what kind of sleeper this baby will be.  Should we put the baby in Evie's room, so that we can hear her when she wakes up, but don't wake up every time she moves?  Should we keep her in our room so that Evie's sleep will be as peaceful as possible?  Should one of us sleep on the couch with the baby downstairs, and have one parent attend to Evie at night, and one attend to the baby?  I just don't know, and it has always been the lack of sleep that scares me the most about having this baby.  I know that after the first few months it will all be behind us, I just hope I don't completely lose it before then.
6. Lastly, I recently acquired a bread machine.  I don't have the manual, so I searched online for general bread machine operating.  I thought I had it all figured out, Evie helped me put all the ingredients in the machine, and we were set!  Or so I thought.  After 3+ hours of rumbling and normal bread machine noises, I expectantly opened my machine to find some delicious homemade bread...and was sorely disappointed.  The first thing I saw was the flour and yeast...unmixed and dry.  Needless to say, we did not have homemade bread for dinner.  I feel like an idiot, but question:  Do I have to do the bread making in two parts?  Do the dough setting first, and when that's finished, do I do the baking setting?  I could have sworn that I had my pan all locked in with the kneading blade set, but maybe I didn't?  I don't know.  But I will be investigating this matter further. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Still Alive!

Ugh, I know it's been forever since I updated our 5 months :-( So, here's a quick recap:

The biggest news is that we are expecting baby #2 in the middle of January, so I am 22 weeks pregnant right now, and the doctors are predicting a girl!  Yay!  Still trying to determine a name, but there's still time for that.  The biggest challenge with this change in our future has been preparing Evie for the arrival; the challenge being to help her acknowledge it.  Ah well, it will become all too real for her once the baby comes.

Big change number 2 is that we moved to Spanish Fork, UT at the end of May.  A little upgrade from our two-bedroom apartment to a two-bedroom town house.  It came at probably the best time a move can come during a pregnancy, but either way, I detest moving at any time and it wasn't the most joyous event needing to eat during a majority of the process.  C'est la vie.

Also, we were able to get Evie potty trained before our move, which was an adventure.  I think we were pretty lucky though, because she got it down by the end of the second day.  I'm just happy I had Brandon to keep my sanity in check; that first day was awful.  But definitely worth it at the end of day two.  Since then she's been fairly consistent with using the "big girl potty."  Not to say she hasn't had minor relapses and accidents, but I feel overall our experience was not as bad as it could have been.  I'm mainly excited we got this taken care of at the beginning of the pregnancy, so that when the baby comes, Evie will have had nine months to have the whole thing down pat.  Also, we won't have to buy diapers for two kids. Bonus!

And finally, I have officially, OFFICIALLY, graduated with my Bachelor's of Science.  I received my degree in the mail shortly after our move, and at some point I may get it framed :-)  Now, what should I do with all that knowledge that I paid for? Hmmm....  At this point in time, I am thinking about teaching piano lessons to beginners.  This would allow me to work at home, it won't be super time-consuming, and it'll bring in a little extra income, which definitely wouldn't hurt.  So, for the past while I've been casually investigating different book series and tips/techniques for teaching...hopefully this will all come in handy if/when I can get this gig going.

That's a brief overview of what's been going on at our end of the universe.  I'm hoping now that the nausea has left, I'll be able to get back to being productive and keeping everything together more effectively. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fun Family Event!

Ok, as some of you may know, I've been doing an internship this semester at United Way of Utah County with their program, Help Me Grow.  For all of these last four months, we have been working on our annual family event, which is taking place April 30th at UVU Centre Stage. 

This activity has a ton of merit.  Parents with young children in the area: Please consider bringing your kids to this event.  There will be SO MUCH information on parenting alone that will make it worth your while, not to mention all of the fun activities that will occupy your children for 2 hours.  There is a fee for going, but it is minimal.  $5 for families with 1-2 children (this includes one child's t-shirt), $10 for families with 3-5 kids (2 children's t-shirts), and $15 for families with 6+ kids (3 t-shirts) *Additional kids shirts can be purchased for $2.50 a piece*.  Small price for a family outing.  Plus, if you register now *today* you will be entered into the final two drawings to win educational toys for your kids.

I'm really excited for this event.  REALLY.  I'm excited to see how much fun my daughter has.  I'm excited for all the parenting information that has been running around our office since I've been there to be put on paper for everyone to benefit from.  I'm excited to see all of the parents there learning how to help their children grow and develop.  I'm excited to see all of the pro-active-ness.  It's going to be AWESOME!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The other half...mine.

Brandon, lucky man that he is, has been called to work with the 11-12 year old scouts pretty much since we've been married, and we've lived in 5, read it FIVE, wards.  Lucky for them, he likes outdoors stuff, like campouts, hiking, and merit-badging it up. 

Unlucky woman that I am, I have yet to get used to being alone at night. 

However, I was a bit excited for this latest campout.  I was gonna get stuff done.  And I did.  But come 6:00 PM, I was missing him.  Not that I saw him a lot during the day before then, but we had some time together driving to and from work and daycare where we would catch up with each other, and provide whatever support was rendered necessary at the time...I feel like I've been relying on that support a bit more as of late.

Anywho,  I was excited about crossing things off my "To Do" list...and no, not the one I have on the side of the blog :-)  And then, as soon as I dropped him off to leave for the campout, I felt as though I'd lost a piece of my soul.  Knowing that I wasn't going to see him for the next 48 hours was...disheartening.  And I felt lost, disoriented for the rest of the day.  Not in an "I'm incompetent and unable to function properly" kind of way, but an "I don't feel like a whole person" way.  I felt like I was missing a substantial portion of my support system.

Which could be a good thing.  Opposition in all things, right?  Brandon will have returned at the end of the 48 hours, and I will feel a renewed sense of overwhelming love, appreciation, and dependence on/for/towards him.

Since I've returned to the school scene after my year long sabbatical, I've told myself that part of the reason I was doing this was so that if something ever happened to our family, I would be able to step up and get something better than a high-school equivalent job.  Just to be prepared.  While that is true, I've been telling myself that I would be able to support our family, financially--probably, but on an emotional, spiritual, and mental level as well. 

So, with these brief periods of separation, I have realized that I would not be able to survive as well on my own as I thought I would be able, should the need arise.

Ugh, I am so NEEDY :-(

So here's to you, Mr. Palmer.  Jesus (and Brooke) love you more than you will know.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Month 3

It has now been three months since I started my weight loss program, and to date, I have lost 19.2 lbs, and 17 inches...well, everywhere. 

On a side note, I've been working towards selling my wedding dress.  I'm hesitant to put it on a site like craigslist, because there are SO MANY girls in my area selling wedding dresses.  But, I think my recently engaged cousin may be interested in buying it, so that's a plus :-)  In preparation for selling my dress, I took it out of the garment bag to make sure it was still good and everything associated with it was still present.

So naturally, I tried it on.

Good news...

 still fits.  :-D

The zipper did need some encouragement, but in the end, it zipped all the way up.   The end.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happiness Today

I've decided since my blog has become some form of journal/record keeping, I should be recording the things that make me happy.  Makes sense, no?

Today, Evie made me happy.  Ok, she always makes me happy SOMEHOW everyday.  Today she made me happy because she was a bit more huggy/touchy/feely today than she usually is.

I think it has something to do with Toy Story 3. 

Now that she's on her ba-jillionth time viewing it (yes, I have faults) I think she's picking up on emotional nuances from the movie.  Like at the end, when Andy is getting ready to leave, and his mom is standing in his room, obviously reminiscing, Evie will come over and give me an endearing, heart-felt hug.

She wraps her little arms around my neck, and puts her face into my shoulder, and she just sits there...until I move.  Dang it, I ruined it.  It's ok, though.  There were plenty more hugs to come.  For my birthday, in seven months, I think I'll wish that Evie will always give me hugs like that.  Where she melts trustingly into my arms, and for that moment, there is only us.

I also enjoy hugs like that from Brandon....(memories)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Better Day

Thank you to everyone who consoled me after my pity party yesterday.  I had a MUCH better day today :-)  I looked for it all day.  This is for you, Britany :-).  Today my "This is why it's all worth it" moment was...what's the word?  Insightful?  

Yeah, we'll use insightful.

Story:  This morning, we got started on Toy Story 3 8:30.  In the meantime, we got some of our morning things done, like breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth, and changing diapers (not necessarily in that order).  Good start.  When the movie was over, Evie promptly brought me the WRONG controller for the Xbox.  As she reached out to give it to me, she said "Please." And as she set it on my lap and turned away she said "Thank You."  There was barely a pause for me to say anything.  She had made herself perfectly clear, and to her, there was no reason for her not to get what she had asked for.  Such a cutie.  (BTW, if I wasn't clear enough, she wanted me to start the movie for her.  Again.)

I realize it might seem odd for me to choose this as my heavenly chorus of "Ah ah ah ah" moment of parenting.  

I shall enlighten you.

Over the last couple of days, I've paid closer attention to my interactions with my daughter.  She is getting better at communicating what she wants specifically.  Six months ago we were doing good if she approached us with "Please?" and we didn't have to ask her to say it.  Now she'll say "This way" or "Come" if she wants something.  She also says "Thank You" by herself...sometimes. 

Also, this afternoon, Evie grabbed her cup of milk, my hand, said "This way," pulled me into the kitchen, and stopped right in front of the sink.  Once we made it to the sink, she held up both her arms for me to pick her up.  I did as directed; she then proceeded to have me unscrew the lid to her cup, and she poured out the milk.  After that unwanted bath, she threw the now empty cup into the sink.  Next she wriggled around for me to put her down.  She took my hand, "This way" again, pulled me two feet to the left and raised her arms, again.  I picked her up, again; she leaned forward and opened the cupboard where we keep her cups.  She carefully selected the closest cup, closed the cupboard door, and asked to be set down.  Once again, she took my hand, "This way," and we ended ten feet to the right.  Facing the fridge.  She tried with all the might her 28 lbs body could muster to open that door.  Then she took my hand, placed it on the handle, and asked "Please?"  I opened the door, she took out a Capri Sun pack (I don't know why Brandon bought those for a TWO YEAR OLD.  Regardless, we had them), gave it to me, and stated "Juice."  She handed me her cup, and patiently waited as I transferred the sugar to her cup.  After completing this series of commands, I was gratefully thanked by my daughter, and she went on her way.

(I'm sorry if this was long-winded for you.)

What hits me as a worthwhile moment from this is:  We've actually, effectively, taught her to use "please" and "thank you."  That feels like one battle won.  Secondly, it is so...rewarding...for me to see how Evie can put a series of necessary events together like that in order to achieve a goal.  She faltered not at all through that whole thing.  She knew exactly what she wanted, and knew exactly what she had to do to get it.  I'm discovering that my daughter is a determined little girl, which is a worthwhile thing to notice.

And that, my friends, is why my moments today were insightful, and not awe-inspiring or overly emotional.  

Today was a good day.


Thursday, March 31, 2011


Today wasn't the best day I've ever had.  Have you ever been in a situation where your only option was to just let the child scream bloody murder because you've tried everything else?  

I have.

More than once.

I remember when I first had Evie; we were still in the hospital, and they sent in a nurse to teach me a little something about babies: they cry.  Yes, it surprised me too.  I specifically remember her (the nurse) sitting at the foot of my bed, telling me about Shaking Baby Syndrome, or whatever it's called--something to that effect, and she said "It's OK to set your baby down in the crib and go outside for 5 minutes to collect yourself.  Your baby will be fine.  You take care of yourself when you get to that point."  

I feel like I've taken that advice, a lot.  And it has saved my sanity.  So, note to all you expecting and future mothers: It is OK to set your baby down, screaming till they're blue, and leave the room while you search for the remnants of your sanity.  Don't feel bad.  You're doing that baby a favor.


That's one of the keys of parenting, just so's you know.  I have to remind myself of that lots...especially since Evie has entered a repetitive stage of her vocal development.  Summoning my patience for the constant marathon of "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom"  "What, Evie?" "Mom, Mom, Mom," etc, has become a more frequent challenge in recent months.

These two musings comprised my morning, and I just kind of...floated through the rest of my day.  Not a whole lot of energy.  My supply for the day was gone by 10 am.  AND, I took my vitamins and ate my Honey Nut Cheerios.  Still, it left me.  

Sad story.

Fortunately for me, my husband loves me, spoils me, for some reason.  He took care of dinner for me tonight, and bought me cupcakes from my FAVORITE place :-) The Sweet Tooth Fairy Aw, cupcakes :-)  What a great, wonderful, intuitive, sensitive husband I have :-)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Cleaning...For Realz.

Well, I decided that since we have lived in our apartment for...(thinking)...10 months, it's time to de-clutter.  In anticipation of some MAJOR, THOROUGH cleaning and sterilization, we bought a couple of storage bins for our holiday decorations, which was just the start.  Today, I got some intensive therapy by going through all of our closets, throwing out the trash, vacuuming with my new vacuum :-), and working out an AWESOME compact-storage system.  I managed to get all of our storage into Evie's closet! Plus + I got all of our food storage in one general area...within the kitchen.  Good day :-)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Evie's United Way Photo Shoot

Evie did a photo shoot for United Way (obviously) and these are the results :-)  The only catch was I have to put in a plug for United Way, so go check out their blog:

For those of you who may not know, the white board that she is holding is a place holder for the PR and communications people.  So, when they go in and edit the pictures, it's easy for them to put in the United Way logo right where they have the white board.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Question to everyone: What do you do to relax?

I often feel exhausted taking care of the apartment, doing my internship, and constantly running after Evie.  I know some of you have one child, more than one, or none--and I'm assuming ALL of you have some amount of stress.  So what do you do to relax and unwind?

The best thing for me are these at my fingers...

...and this musical genius's sheet music in front of me...

...and I am good to go.  

Nothing puts me in a better mood than letting all my pent up emotions run rampant through my fingers as I play his songs.  I just...LOVE to play his music.  (If you haven't heard any of his songs, find some to listen to.  He is AMAZING.)

Now, back out to you.  Share with me your stress-relieving techniques!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


So, I dislike several things about being female, but one I dislike the most is how unpredictably emotional I can become.  Lame.

Moving on.  Despite the inconvenience of this fact, it has also been a blessing.  "How" you may ask, "you look like an idiot with tears streaming down your face, and smeared mascara and foundation in its wake."  Being a detail-oriented person, maybe even anal retentive (yes, I know what that means--I have paid for several psychology classes) I tend to get bogged down in the small things of the day.  For example, all last week I was sick to my stomach, not because I was ridiculously busy, but because I wasn't able to wash my dishes for three days straight.  Pathetic, I know.

Right, I was explaining the blessing part of this.  So, because I get so caught up in the stupid things, becoming emotional makes me think about the big picture.  Like my friend who's about to pop (shout out to you Britany!) I am reminded of all the life lessons I learned throughout my pregnancy with Evie.  And those lessons have served to strengthen my testimony and faith in Heavenly Father and the Plan of Salvation.  Or just now when I read my old roommate's rant on under-appreciated veterans (that's you, Jen).  I totally agree.  And being emotional makes me all the more grateful for the freedoms we have and that I was saved for such a time as this.  I don't think I would have survived during any other period of history :-)

Anywho, as you may have guessed, I am emotional at the moment.  And I needed an outlet that didn't consist of making Brandon panic about having done something wrong--because he didn't.  And there I go again...I have such a great husband.  I really do.  (River of tears.  Brooke signs off.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Now that I have the pictures....

A picture update of our lives since we moved to our own little apartment last year--

So sweet asleep.

Align Center
We made a breakfast run for donuts. Evie couldn't wait until we got home.

Yes, we made our daughter dress up as Batwoman for Halloween.

Evie loved that I babysat little Kymbree last semester. They were so cute together!

I just think she's so gosh-darn cute in her church clothes :-)

I bought some curlers for experimenting on my hair...Evie REALLY wanted to join the party.

Who doesn't like bathtub shots?
(Please no off-color remarks).

My first attempt at french braids in Evie's hair. I thought it was successful :-)

Evie excited Christmas morning...

...and the carnage begins.

The cutie grandkids at Christmas. This was the best picture I got of poor Alex's eye :-(

Evie's thoughtful Uncle Zack got her bear feet slippers which she refuses to wear

One of the traditions in our home is to take pictures of our German pancakes right when they come out of the oven. We like to see how high the sides rise... :-)

One of Brandon's employees makes cute little tutus, and she gave this one to Evie.

Evie attended her cousin, Hawnee's, 3rd birthday party in January

Hawnee with her daddy and my cousin, Chris.

This is our happy family :-)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Month 2

Here's just a quick update about my weight loss goals--this is mostly for me; it keeps me accountable :-) To date, I have lost 14.6 lbs, and 12.5 inches around...everywhere. Yay!

Friday, March 4, 2011


It occurred to me as I fell asleep last night, that some of the things I said in the previous post may have stuck out more than the point I was trying to make. Here are my clarifications:
  • First, I think a higher education is an admirable thing to work for. It has merits of it's own, regardless of what you use it for. However, I don't think that earning a Bachelor's, or even a Ph.D. should be the peak of anybody's accomplishments in life. What you do with your degree should be more significant than actually earning it.
  • Second, I believe that service to people other than your family is commendable. Like young men and women who serve missions. Kudos to you! I don't think I could have done what you did as well as any and/or each of you. You are an example to me. Another example: people who join the Peace Corps. I admire that people like that care enough to donate their time and energy in such a way. You are a rare gem.
  • Third, I truly am not trying to blow my own horn. I am not saying that everyone should have done everything the way I did, because I have made my own mistakes, and am certainly a far cry from perfect. I am only trying to make a case for growing up and taking on the mantle of adulthood, rather than lounging in a single's paradise.
  • Finally, I have the highest respect for charitable organizations. I'm interning at one right now. The men and women who have worked to make it a viable program are some of the best people I have ever met. But...I think that they would agree with me that raising a family is the most important work they have done. That is why our specific organization focuses on empowering parents. Because investing in children brings back the biggest return.
This is the point that I'm trying to make. Doing a stint in the Peace Corps, or volunteering with various charities is a beautiful form of selflessness, but raising--taking care of and responsibility for--a family is a full time job, that will encompass most of your life. And devoting your time to that is the most selfless act you can do, and it is the act/goal supported most by the Church. Create an Eternal family.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What is it all about anyway?

This is just a rant, so don't read it if you you're not in the mood.

I have held a complicated grudge for a while now. Not against people I just can't get along with, but against people that I cared for. No, I am not related to these people.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon), I was taught certain things growing up: EVERYONE is a child of God, families can be forever, and Eternal life is achieved through a life of service, primarily. Now, as a member of the above mentioned church, I have gained a testimony of these statements, and I have had one for as long as I can remember.

I'm not trying to brag, I'm just setting the stage for what I thought was common-sense and common-understanding among other members of my faith. Because of my belief in those things, I have always tried to work towards becoming a better person. My goal has always been to get married in the temple, to be a mother, to raise a family, and to teach my children the gospel. And I thought that those were basically common goals to all members of my church. It wasn't until I moved to the center of the LDS universe (Provo, UT) that I became acquainted with some of the stupidest people I have ever met.

Disclaimer: I am in no way generalizing members of the LDS church, or those that live in highly concentrated "Mormon" areas. In moving to Provo, I have also become friends with some of the best people I could ever know, and am honored to know them at all. I am merely making an observation about certain "mind sets."

Having grown up in a rural town in Texas, it was drilled into my head that people are ALWAYS watching you. If you tout religious beliefs, people will call you on it if you screw up. And perhaps that's why I am the way that I am.

Back to Provo. After having had 14 years of living what I believed, moving to an area stuffed full of people who shared my beliefs was like a breath of fresh air. Finally I could relax. I didn't need to be a missionary to these people who were already converted. The next four years, that was my mentality. Not that I slacked off or anything, it was more I expected other people to behave the same way I did. I expected the same upbringing. Obviously I took my upbringing for granted.

High school is a time most people use to branch out, find their niche. Which lends itself to those adolescents making stupid mistakes. I get that, and I don't hold that against them. However, I do expect these people's parents to have laid the groundwork so that these kids don't screw up the rest of their lives by exploring, or not exploring, their options. My parents weren't perfect, but one thing they did well was stressing the fact that I was responsible for my future. It was my responsibility to put myself through college, and I WAS going to college. It was my responsibility to internalize my beliefs and become the person I wanted to be. They would be the example, and it was up to me to do what was needed for myself.

I think certain people I knew well didn't benefit from that same lesson. I realize that not everyone did their homework during high school. I realize that not everyone had a job then either. And that is fine. What I don't get is people not preparing. What I don't understand is just...doing NOTHING. I don't understand all the...APATHY I have witnessed, the lack of progress. I saw potential in these people during high school. That was 5 years ago. And several of them are in the same place. Yes, they may be in college, yes they may have a job one step up from the one they had in high school, but they aren't MATURING.

What is all for then, people? What is that Bachelor's, Master's, Ph.D. going to do for you if you aren't maturing? You want a better job? Why? Are you dating? Do you have a spouse, or children? You could get by just fine working for $10.00/hour at the call center if the only plan you have is to support yourself and have fun. Then you wouldn't have to waste all that time and money on a higher education. You want to make a difference in the world? Let me tell you a secret: Giving service to people on the other side of the world is going to open your eyes to the fact that you can only do so much by yourself. What it comes down to is building a stronger, better, future generation. What is going to make the MOST difference is going to be people staying home with their children--putting hours, days, years into instilling morals and virtues into the future. Don't get me wrong, service is wonderful. Like my dad would tell me, it's the most selfish thing you can do. The blessings received are more than we deserve for the service performed. But guess what. The FAMILY is the building block of society, not charitable organizations, and it isn't just the LDS church that says so. The best effort to fix the problems our world is facing will be to raise the best kids our world has ever seen.

After spending more time than I care to admit trying to figure out what I have against these people that I love, I realized it was that. I have always known that ultimately, building my family would be the greatest thing I would accomplish in this life. And somehow, my friends couldn't, or wouldn't, wrap their heads around that. THAT is the reason...for EVERYTHING! Life is short. What are you doing sitting on the couch, hanging out with your friends? I'm not saying that everyone should be married with a kid by a certain age, but you should at least be DATING by the time you're 23. Get off the couch, get out of the salon, and go on a bona fide DATE. Put the time and effort into making yourself the person you want to spend eternity with! I can't count the talks and quotes given by General Authorities saying this, and STILL, some people don't get it!

It blows my mind that some people don't realize this, that marriage--a family, is what it's all about. That is the center of the gospel. And they must not understand it, because, in my mind, they wouldn't behave the way they do if they did get it. Anywho, that is my beef. Moral of the story--Parents: teach your children what it's all about. And not just that, be their PARENTS, not their friends. It is just wonderful if you end up having a great friendship with them, but your responsibility is first and foremost to parent them, and you are doing them an ENORMOUS disservice if you don't teach them to take responsibility for themselves, if you don't teach them that having a family is what it's all about.

Grow up people. We aren't kids anymore.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Evie's Growing Up

I feel bad that I don't have too much to blog about aside from my little project that I have going on, but I noticed something that Evie did today that really hit me hard. She's started to actually play with her toys.

Let me explain. Babies start out "playing" with toys by learning to hold them, bite them, and bang them on other things. Toddlers begin stacking and organizing toys. Today, I observed my daughter creating a story with her toys. She had a little action figure, and a toy horse, and she had the action figure riding the horse, and she was narrating what was happening. And while I watched this I realized, "My little just that: a little girl. She isn't a baby or a toddler anymore. She's turning into a miniature walking, (intelligibly) talking person." It made me stop and reminisce a little, about how it doesn't seem as though I've been a parent that long, but at the same time, it's as though I've been her mother for forever. I definitely feel as though we're entering a distinctly new phase of our existence together; I'm looking forward to this.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Weight Loss Update

K people, here are the stats. I've been on my thing (weight loss plan, workout schedule, whatever) for 4 weeks and 1 day, and today I have officially lost 10 lbs and 10 inches around my slowly shrinking body... :-) Feelin' good and looking forward to the next month, and hopefully the next 10 lbs. Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement. I love you all!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Good News.

Brooke (me) just (as in 5 minutes ago) applied to graduate with her Bachelors of Science. Woot! That is all.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I've had a couple of people ask me for this recipe, and while I was making a new batch, I remembered that I should probably give it to them. I've been making this homemade laundry detergent for about 8 months now, and using my mom's before that. I decided to continue this tradition after we found out Evie has eczema. This recipe is super easy, eczema-friendly, and your wallet will love it.

  • 1/3 bar Fels Naptha soap. (I have never found this, so I use a full bar of Lever 2000, or whatever is on sale.)
  • 1/2 cup washing soda. (Haven't found this at Wal-Mart either. Substitute 1/2 cup baking soda.)
  • 1/2 cup borax powder. (This you CAN find at Wal-Mart with their other laundry supplies.)
  • 2-gallon bucket. I use a 3 gallon BYU Creamery ice cream bucket.
  • Grate the soap and put it in a stock pot or large sauce pan. Add 6 cups of water and heat it until the soap melts. (The original instructions tell you to add the washing/baking soda and the borax powder here. From experience, I'm telling you not to. The mixture will boil and rise over the top of your pot, leaving more mess for you to clean up.)
  • Pour 4 cups hot water into your bucket.
  • Remove soap/water mixture from heat, and add to your bucket.
  • Add washing/baking soda and borax powder, and mix until dissolved.
  • Once dissolved, fill your bucket to the 2-gallon mark (or your best estimation) with hot water and stir.
  • After your solution is mixed, let it sit for about 24 hours (it takes mine 36-48) and it will gel. Use 1/2 cup detergent per load.
(This recipe was originally taken from

Just for fun, I'm going to add up your expenses, and you can compare this to buying 60-load or whatever Tide or Gain however often you need to from the store :-)

8-pack Irish Spring bar soap:~$4.50
borax powder:~$4.50
baking soda (16 oz):~$2.00

I didn't have to purchase my bucket, my mom gave it to me for free, but any food storage bucket will do that you can get from Macey's or somewhere cheap. Some places, like the creamery, may give them to you free. Now, I do on average a load of laundry a day, with my child who spills and makes messes on everything. I bought each of these things when we moved into our apartment at the beginning of last June, and I haven't had to go buy more of anything. Today I made my 3rd batch, and I'll need to get more baking soda for the next time. So, $13.00 a year on laundry detergent? I'm ok with that.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Renewing New Year's Resolutions

Yes, I know, I'm a lame blogger :-( However, this post brings good news, at least for me. As you may have read from my previous post, I started doing the Insanity workouts. The regimen I started then (4 months ago) didn't work out as well as I imagined. I continued to do the workouts, maybe not as consistently as I should have, but I continued to work out, and I still am. But I wasn't achieving the results I was looking for--probably because I was justifying the ~3000 calories I was consuming each day. (Actually, I don't know how many calories I was inputting, but it was definitely more than the recommended amount. Maybe you are aware of how much I...appreciate, food?) Anywho, I did some researching, and came up with my own weight loss plan. I've cut back my calorie intake, upped my workouts to a daily occurrence, and I am proud to say....since January 5th (that's when I started this dealio)...I have lost 8 pounds :-) and am well on my way to my target weight! Thank you, thank you. I delayed sharing this with everyone until I was sure I could keep this up, and now I'm in a routine that I am sure I can stick to. Especially since I've seen the results :-) Thanks for enduring my little bragging session, but I'm a little proud of myself. Little bit.